The Chicago Marathon Was A Blast!!!

 

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Well, the title pretty much sums up the Chicago Marathon!  This runner had entirely too much fun running that 26.2 miles.  I’m guessing you’d like to hear a little bit more about the race so I’ll tell you a few highlights from along the course and *try* not to go off chasing rabbits.

Race day morning my alarm went off at 3:15am.  I had a train to catch at 5:00am for the hour ride into the Windy City.  I had laid out my clothes the night before so when the alarm went off, I pulled on my running clothes, put a Tailwind cap over my bed head, rubbed the mascara out from under my eyes and went out for some breakfast.

My hosts, Sherry and Linda, had been wonderful!!!  Race day morning, Sherry was puttering around in the kitchen and had two waffles with yummy Nutella on them, fresh orange slices and a huge cup of coffee all ready for me.  There’s no doubt that I was well fueled for my train trip to Chicago and the race ahead!

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I made it to the train station with 10 minutes to spare.  After finding a comfy seat, I realized I hadn’t had a pic taken of my #IRun4Aiden!  That needed to be remedied so I snagged a complete stranger on the train to take my pic.

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I fiddled around on FB and Twitter during the train ride.  While I was on the train, my friend, Lorelei, messaged me and offered me the use of the flush toilet in her hotel room before the race!  Now, if you’ve ever run a BIG race before, you will recognize this for the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow offer it was and of course I accepted her very generous offer!

Once off the train, I zoomed over to the Hilton, where she was staying.  We’d never met before IRL so this was a treat for both of us to finally meet!

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After everybody was set, we toddled across Michigan Ave. into Grant Park towards the corrals.  It was a beautiful day in Chicago!!!

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Gradually our corral meandered up closer and closer to the start and the next thing I knew, we were off and running!  YAY!!!

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Now, I had shared with some online friends that I could probably run well at Chicago IF I kept my mouth shut.  I have this thing, especially at BIG races where I meet new people along the course.  I love making new friends at races!!!  I told my friends I needed to be reminded to shut my mouth.  LOL!!!

Before the race, the Chicago Marathon made an opportunity for your friends so send in messages that would be shown on the big boards along the course.  After the race we’d receive an email showing all the messages that had been sent for you.  These are my messages:

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Did you notice the one that says, “Shut up and run, Melinda!”  I saw that and laughed myself silly!!!  I’m also going to hit up Ray for that cupcake when we run the Phoenix Marathon in February.  *You hear that Ray?  I’m holding you to that cupcake!!!*

I ran alongside a few different people in the first half of the race.  The most memorable one was this nice man from Mexico.  This was his first marathon and he was soooo excited!

When we met at mile 3(?) he was running strong.  We had chatted a bit and he knew this was my 15th marathon and he decided he wanted to run with me since I kind of knew what to do and how to pace for the race.  I had told him to be patient and save something in the tank for the end.

He was having a difficult time dialing back his pace.  He wanted to run faster.  Around mile 11 and 12, I noticed he was taking little walking breaks and then sprinting to catch up.  By mile 13, he’d fallen back and I didn’t see him again.  I’m sure he finished and I wish him well!!!  Nice, nice man!

After I lost him, I ran pretty much by myself.

You hear that Lori?  Your message worked!  After the Half, I buttoned my lip and focused on the race!!!

It was a warmish race day.  I think it hit the mid 70′s.  The humidity was low and I was in runner heaven!  This was the nicest running weather I’d had in ages!!!

Now, this will seem kind of silly to many of you but I’ll tell you anyway.  I’ve always loved this pic from the Chicago Marathon and when I ran it back in 2014, I was so disappointed to have missed seeing this sign.  I saw it this year!!!  YAY, me!  There were so many sights I noticed along the way that I had missed in 2014 that I was having the time of my life!

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One of my favorite things along the course on that warm Sunday were the fire trucks blowing water spray over the course.  That water was sooo cold it took my breath away for a second but it felt AMAZING!!!  I loved those trucks!!!

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The other thing that was a godsend were the kiddie swimming pools filled with ice water and sponges.  Nothing beats being handed a freezing cold, dripping sponge and squeezing it over your head. #heaven

I will admit to feeling a little blue when I reached the 20 mile marker.  I only had 10k left!  That’s all!?!  The race went so fast and I was having so much fun~I wasn’t ready for it to end!!!

At mile 23, I heard people yelling my name and hear the “Clanga, Clanga” of a Mississippi State University cowbell!  Woo-Hoo!!!  #HAILSTATE

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Thanks Sherry and Kristin for coming to cheer along the course!!!

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Almost too soon, there was the finish line.  I was soooo excited!!!  I raised my arms and yelled, “YAY!!!!!”

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Just a few more feet and BOOM!  I was done!  I had run the Chicago Marathon for the second time.  It was a blast the first time and it was a blast again!!!

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#IRun4Aiden

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